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May 2013

5 Questions: MCI's Patrick Scully

Patrick Scully began his career in the bus business when he joined Ontario Bus Industries, later acquired by Daimler Buses, as a sales representative in its service parts department. He transitioned to the bus sales team at Orion in 1991, becoming general sales manager in 1993, and then, joined Detroit Diesel Corp. in 1994, where he quickly became VP, worldwide bus and coach sales. When Detroit Diesel sold to Daimler in 2001, he joined its Setra division, where he eventually served as chief commercial officer. Motor Coach Industries (MCI) recently named Scully as its new executive VP, sales and marketing.

What are your responsibilities, and how has the transition gone thus far?
It has been awesome. From a responsibility standpoint, I have all the sales and marketing activities for our coach product. We’ve unified our sales teams under one cohesive group, with one key new coach sales contact representing MCI and Setra brands to both private and public sector customers. I’m honored to be leading such an experienced and dedicated MCI sales team.

With the transition of the Setra business to MCI, it has been a very good fit across the board. I have always had a fair level of admiration for MCI as I managed them as an account back in the 1990s when I worked with Detroit Diesel. The areas of entrepreneurialism; an extremely high level of professionalism; and the essence of trust, leadership and vision are exemplified within the organization and espoused by Rick Heller, our president, as well as our owners, KPS Capital Partners LP. It is really a great company and I am proud to be part of it.

Whether it is our public sector business or the private sector business, we are making great strides in the market with our product introductions, regaining market share in the private side and, quite frankly, continuing to deliver best in-class products in both the private and public markets.

What are some reasons for public transportation’s recent steady growth and how can the industry keep it up?
If I can sum it up in a word, it is professionalism. Not that it didn’t exist before, but it has really been optimized over the last 10 to 15 years as operators have become more professional in the image they put on the street. Whether it’s making sure vehicles and systems run on time, providing information systems to customers for on-time arrival of bus stops or trains, fare systems that make it simple to get on and off, or solving security concerns at virtually every rail platform and on every bus, there is just a significantly higher level of professionalism that exists both on the operations and supply sides. The products we provide, whether it is buses, railcars, or any other piece of equipment or components, continue to get better and better and that manifests itself in a very desirable product people can count on.

At the same time, you have these macroeconomic issues that are happening, whether it’s fuel prices or the economy itself, which tends to move people in one direction or another to use public transportation. When they do use public transportation and see that it’s a great product that arrives and gets you to where you want to go on time, and often allows you to be productive while you are on your way, that all lends itself to people seeing public transportation in a very positive light.

You then also have to balance all of that against the generation of 20 year olds that are coming into the workforce, many of which don’t want to drive a car for various reasons. So, these various paths converge in the form of increased ridership.

The future looks positive. The industry now has to make sure it continues with that same level of professionalism. Things such as fuel prices are a tipping point, and we will see how that goes in the future, but it certainly bodes well with the improvements and professionalism that exists in the industry.

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